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Tales of the unexpected from New York

In terms of the big fashion weeks, New York has always been billed as the safe and unadventurous sibling to Europe’s more dramatic and experimental triplets.

Our report from the Big Apple shows some pretty commercial trends and wearable designs. So far, so safe. But one thing that struck me as London Fashion Week began was the amount of unexpected moments at New York’s usually placid parade of prettiness and precision.

Rodarte had tongues wagging as the Mulleavy sisters continued their love affair with nostalgia by presenting a tricked-up rebellious teen look. Their bad taste = good taste thing usually works well but this time didn’t add up.

In contrast, Ali Hewson made Edun a lot cleaner and New York-like than before and it was all the better for it, the exploration of the geometric monochrome patterns proving particularly successful.

The last day offered three further twists in the tale. The morning saw Ralph Lauren pick up where he left autumn off, with monochrome looks that then dramatically gave way to an out-of-character voyage into some eye-watering primary brights.

Then came Calvin Klein Collection, which jumped away from the usually restrained sportiness and into a softer, more delicate look. Francisco Costa’s 10th anniversary collection was a new direction for the brand. Then, bearing in mind this was the spring 14 edition, Marc Jacobs presented something so dark and heavy it might be a hard sell come next April, even for Mr Jacobs.

In fact, oddly the most unsurprising thing from the week was that Thom Browne, purveyor of the peculiar, gave us his usual weirdness, this time all in white. In a way, it was the most predictable collection of a week that gave us a fair few tales of the unexpected.

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